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Your Environment. Your Health.

Effectiveness and cost of reducing particle-related mortality with particle filtration

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography


Research article Cost benefit analysis (CBA)
Fisk WJ, Chan WR
Indoor Air
This cost-benefit analysis estimated mortality-related benefits and costs of improving air pollution particulate matter (PM2.5) filtration in homes and commercial buildings in the three counties encompassing Houston, TX, Los Angeles, CA, and Elizabeth, NJ. Reductions in mortality ranged from approximately 0.25 to 2.4 per 10,000 population. The intervention using continuously running portable air cleaners with HEPA filters showed the greatest reductions in PM2.5 exposure. The estimated annual mortality-related economic benefits per person ranged from $110 to $2,025 and economic benefit-to-cost ratios ranged from 3.9 to 133. Using a $1000 per year per person benefit, the authors estimate a potential nationwide annual benefit of $320 billion. The authors concluded that more attention should be placed on improving indoor air particle filtration.
People living or working in specific geographic locations (ages not specified)

Health Outcomes

  • Mortality

Environmental Agents

List of Environmental Agents:

  • Air pollutants (particulate matter (PM2.5/fine))

Source of Environmental Agents:

  • Outdoor air

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Cost benefit analysis (CBA)

Cost Measured:

  • Costs for high-efficiency versus standard low-efficiency filters in home HAC systems and commercial HVAC systems
  • Extra operation time of the home HAC fan for interventions that require constant use
  • Portable air cleaners and filter replacements
  • Energy used by portable air cleaners
  • Energy use changes in homes and commercial buildings when higher efficiency filters are used

Potential Cost Measures: (Not available)

Benefits Measures:

  • Annual reductions in premature mortality

Potential Benefits:

  • Morbidity reductions
  • Health benefits of reducing indoor concentrations of indoor-generated particles
  • Reduction in life expectancy
  • Effects of day-to-day variability in home ventilation rates, outdoor particle concentrations, and operation of HAC systems for heating and cooling


  • Los Angeles County, California
  • Union County, New Jersey (includes Elizabeth)
  • Harris County, Texas (Includes Houston)

Models Used: (Not available)

Methods Used:

  • The authors calculated potential reductions in mortality from various improvements in air particle filtration in U.S. single-family homes and in workplaces and other non-residential buildings. The authors — 1) estimated indoor air concentrations of PM2.5 of outdoor air origin using steady-state mass balance models with inputs based on empirical data; 2) predicted indoor concentrations of PM2.5 with and without improvements in filtration; 3) used the PM2.5 concentrations with time-activity data and breathing rate data to estimate how much the filtration interventions reduced total indoor and outdoor inhalation intake of PM2.5; 4) estimated the reductions in outdoor air PM2.5 concentrations that would reduce total PM2.5 inhalation as much as the filtration interventions; 5) estimated reductions in mortality using concentration-response equations based on epidemiologic data and outdoor PM2.5 concentrations; and 6) estimated filtration costs.

Sources Used:

  • Health benefits and costs of filtration interventions that reduce indoor exposure to PM2.5 during wildfires (Fisk and Chan, 2017); state health department data for mortality rates; US Census data for numbers of single-family housing units and the average number of occupants per housing unit; US EPA data on outdoor air PM2.5 concentrations during each of the four seasons; mortality risk coefficient beta for the all-age population that was employed by the EPA in their evaluation of the Clean Air Act (US EPA, 2016); additional sources cited in the publication

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Fisk WJ, Chan WR. 2017. Effectiveness and cost of reducing particle-related mortality with particle filtration. Indoor Air.
  • Pubmed
  • DOI

NIEHS Funding: (Not available)

Other Funding: (Not available)

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